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14 Simple Things You Can Do To Upgrade Your Office

14 Simple Things You Can Do To Upgrade Your Office

Staying motivated and keeping your productivity high are sometimes difficult, especially if you are sitting at a desk in your home office with no one to breathe down your neck and yell about deadlines. You’ll often find that people who tend to be unmotivated and slack off more don’t have things around their office set up in a way that allows them to stay focused on their work for extended periods of time. Here are some simple things you can do to upgrade your office and create your perfect work environment.

1. Hang your hardware on the wall using hooks

An excellent way of saving some space on your desk and just generally making things more manageable is to get some wall hooks and hang things on them. You can get a number of very cheap metal hooks or plastic attachments that can be used to hold anything from cables and small gadgets to larger office supplies.

2. Add some extra storage space

Another great way of preventing your desk from getting all cluttered up is to simply add some additional storage space. A small drawer with about three compartments is usually more than enough, but you can also make your own shelves. A chest or similar piece of old furniture can also be used to add storage space, but something as simple as boxes, baskets or travel bags can do the trick in a pinch.

3. Elevate your speakers to ear level

Instead of buying new speakers or constantly turning up the volume, you can simply raise your speakers on a platform so they are at ear level. This way you get a much clearer sound without making too much noise.

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4. Add more light

Shed more light

    You will strain your eyes if there isn’t enough light and this can lead to a deterioration of your eyesight over time. Low light conditions can also make you feel drowsy and even slightly depressed. By adding a good lamp you will ensure that there is enough light in your immediate surroundings for you to see clearly. If at all possible you should try and let some natural light into your office by setting up your work desk near a window.

    5. Give it some color

    Bland, boring and grey is not really a design that promotes creativity and productivity. If you want to stay motivated, you need to feel comfortable and relaxed, which can be achieved by adding some bright colors and spicing things up. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, some paintings or prints, colorful office supplies on your desk, a new rug, painting an interesting pattern on your desk and drawer – all these things can help you create a fun work area where you can spend hours at a time without feeling claustrophobic or depressed.

    6. Get a small potted plant

    A nice, green plant will help you upgrade your office in several ways. It provides you with extra oxygen, livens up your interior and keeps you connected to nature so you don’t feel like you are in a prison. You need a plant that doesn’t require a lot of sunlight and is simple to maintain. Some good choices include English Ivy, Philodendrons and Peace Lilies.

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    7. Find a comfortable, ergonomic chair

    Sitting in the right position not only ensures that you stay healthy, but it also enables you to sit in the same position much longer without fidgeting around or taking frequent breaks to stretch your body. A good office chair follows the natural curvature of the spine, provides lumbar support, and is highly adjustable so as to allow you to customize the chair to your size and needs. Make sure your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, that the armrests provide adequate support for your forearms, and that the chair is comfortable yet stiff enough to keep your body aligned properly.

    8. Improve your desk

    You will need to set up the things on your desk so that they are within reach. Your desk also needs to have enough space to fit everything and some additional storage where you can put away things that you don’t use that often. Generally speaking, you should be able to reach your peripherals – i.e. mouse, printer, speakers – and important tools, like a calculator or notepad and pen, without moving your body. The things that you use less frequently should be placed further away and you should only have to move your chair or get up when you need to access things that are used on rare occasions. An elevated platform for the monitor and a sliding base for the mouse and keyboard are also beneficial.

    9. Put your monitor at eye level

    The reason most people hunch over so much when sitting at the computer (well, apart from the fact that they often have really bad chairs and low desks) is the fact that the monitor is on a lower level. Your monitor should be at eye level so that you can keep your neck and back straight when looking at the screen. If using a laptop, it’s best to get a USB keyboard and raise the laptop. There are plenty of good bases that allow you to do this, but a stack of books will do just fine.

    10. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy

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    Great home office design

      Some two or three hours into your day at the office you will start to feel mental fatigue and decide to take a short break. Just 5–10 minutes can be enough to let your brain relax, but you need to keep your mind off work and focus it on something fun and pleasurable. Pictures of your loved ones, a model ship, your favorite fishing rod, your first guitar, or a small figurine with a lot of emotional value are just some examples of things that can help put your mind at ease.

      11. Always have a few items lying around that can help your body relax

      Your body tends to get tense and uncomfortable from sitting too long. That’s why it’s important to have a few useful items at your side, such as a grip straightener, a resistance band, a foam roller or a head massager. Take a break every so often, do some light exercise to strengthen the tendons and get some blood flowing through the muscles, and then stretch to loosen up your body.

      12. Create a portable stand for your webcam or microphone

      There are plenty of cheap webcams that include a portable stand and you can get small, flexible stands for webcams for a very low price as well. They allow you to position your webcam any way you want, so that you don’t have to hunch over or mess with the lighting to get a good picture.

      13. Organize your cables

      There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of tangled up cables lying on the floor, particularly when you have to unplug something. Organizing cables isn’t that difficult. You’ll need to unplug everything and untangle those messy cables first, then use hooks and different attachments to make sure the cables run straight from the machines to the sockets. Putting a few small stickers with the right labels (e.g. computer, monitor, printer, etc.) on the cables can help you quickly identify which cable goes where.

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      14. Get a whiteboard

      A whiteboard is essential for visualizing your thoughts and putting down those split-second epiphanies before you have a chance to forget them. It also serves as a great reminder – it’s difficult to forget about something when you have a huge list of tasks staring you in the face every time you sit down at your desk. A whiteboard helps you become more organized and you can always draw some random things on it if you start feeling bored.

      In order to do your best you need a workplace that is tidy, decorated to your liking and has a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere. It all comes down to motivation, so make sure you upgrade your office in a way that keeps you feeling happy and motivated.

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

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      Last Updated on October 17, 2018

      7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

      7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

      How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

      If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

      Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

      So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

      1. Meditate

      We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

      Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

      Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

      Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

      Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

      If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

      And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

      2. Get plenty of sleep

      If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

      If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

      How much sleep should you be getting?

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      Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

      Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

      Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

      Yes, there are.

      Try these three things:

      • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
      • Don’t eat too late
      • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

      Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

      However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

      3. Challenge your brain

      When was the last time you challenged your brain?

      I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

      To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

      Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

      There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

      • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
      • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
      • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

      If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

      Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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      4. Take more breaks

      When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

      At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

      However, I was wrong.

      Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

      Let me explain.

      Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

      Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

      It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

      It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

      What’s the answer?

      Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

      If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

      5. Learn a new skill

      I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

      “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

      From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

      Let me give you an example of this:

      Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

      Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

      The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

      Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

      Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

      6. Start working out

      If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

      Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

      Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

      “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

      Not a problem.

      A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

      Interested in getting started?

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      Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

      • Join a gym
      • Join a sports team
      • Buy a bike
      • Take up hiking
      • Dance to your favorite music

      7. Eat healthier foods

      I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

      This applies to your brain too.

      The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

      Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

      Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

      Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

      • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
      • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
      • Nuts – improves memory
      • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
      • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

      Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

      Final thoughts

      I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

      You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

      But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

      Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

      Reference

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